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Penn State Football: Previewing The Opponent: Georgia State

by on September 15, 2017 2:00 PM

Penn State enters this weekend for the final game of its out of conference schedule and in many respects the final weekend of low stress and few worries for Nittany Lion fans. While anything is possible, a 7:30 kick coupled with a 38 point underdog status does little in the way of helping Georgia State's chances Saturday night.

Even so, there is a game to be played an opponent to preview.

Last Week:

This weeks just the second game on Georgia State's schedule coming off a season opening loss to Tennessee State to the tune of 17-10 at home. Penn State easily marks the most notable opponent on the schedule but Georgia State will close out November against Appalachian State before ending the regular season against Idaho, a 2019 Penn State opponent.

Georgia State is in its first season under new head coach Shawn Elliott. Prior to his current job, Elliot was the offensive line coach at South Carolina. Georgia State is in its eighth season of Division I football and third in the Sun Belt Conference.

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The Offense:

Only one game on the year kind of limits the data, but running back Taz Bateman is the do-it-all kind of player Penn State will have to keep in eye on. In Georgia State's opener, Bateman led the Panthers in rushing and receiving yards. Penny Hart also returns from a season ending foot injury in 2016 and was the Sun Belt's freshman of the year and a freshman All-American at receiver. At 6-foot-1, Conner Manning stands in the pocket after a record setting weekend against Tennessee State when his 14-of-17 passing set a school record for completion percentage in a game.

The Defense:

On defense it's a fairly experienced bunch with corners Chandon Sullivan and Jerome Smith taking over much of the coverage duties. Inside linebacker Trey Payne led the way in Week 1 with eight tackles, and a sacks for the Panthers. All told this bunch is entirely upperclassmen which means everywhere on defense has seen plenty of reps heading into Saturday's game.

The Player To Watch:

Penny Hart is probably the best player on either side of the ball for Georgia State and if the unimaginable upset is going to happen it'll be because he has a big night. Georgia State doesn't have much more to offer than Hart when it comes to players even comparable to what the Nittany Lions are rolling out on offense, but if Manning is on point and Hart gets open, anything is possible in theory.

The Prediction: 

Georgia State might be a bit better than Akron but it's hard to say how much. Only 10 points against Tennessee State doesn't lend itself well to picking an upset. Maybe some garbage time points, but this should be one final easy weekend before Big Ten play begins.

Penn State 48-6



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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